Main Differences Between Non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin Lymphoma

Introduction: The Dual Faces of Lymphoma

The Dual Faces of Lymphoma


Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, is on the rise, impacting over half a million individuals in the United States alone. This cancer begins in the lymphatic system, a crucial part of the body’s immune system. With new cases being reported daily, understanding this disease has never been more critical.


While the term ‘lymphoma’ encapsulates a broad category of cancers, there are two primary types: Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL) and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL). Each has unique characteristics, symptoms, and treatment options.

HL and NHL are not just varying degrees of a single condition, but are distinctly different diseases. Although they both originate in the lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell), their differences are significant and noteworthy.

While Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin lymphomas are both forms of cancer originating from the lymphatic system, they have distinct differences in terms of symptoms, diagnostic markers, treatment strategies, and prognosis, which are essential for both healthcare professionals and patients to understand.

1. Fever: The Initial Warning Signal

Fever The Initial Warning Signal

Fever is in medical terms – a temporary rise in body temperature, often due to an illness. Persistent fever can be one of the first noticeable symptoms of lymphoma.

Fever associated with lymphoma is not due to an infection, but it is a result of the body’s reaction to cancer cells. This fever is usually higher than 100.4°F (38°C) and frequently occurs without any obvious cause.

Characteristic fevers in both Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. For instance, in Hodgkin Lymphoma, fevers are often part of what’s known as “B symptoms,” a group of symptoms that includes fevers, weight loss, and night sweats. Non-Hodgkin the fever might be more intermittent and could be associated with other specific symptoms.

Why lymphoma might cause a fever. This could be due to the body’s immune response to cancer cells, or it might be due to substances produced by tumors (tumor fever). Cytokines, chemicals released by the body in response to the presence of cancer cells, can reset the body’s ‘thermostat’ and lead to a fever.

Importance of consulting with a healthcare professional when a persistent fever is observed, especially when accompanied by other symptoms of lymphoma. Fever can be an indication of disease stage and might inform treatment decisions. That while fever is a common symptom in many conditions, persistent, unexplained fever should never be ignored. (1)

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